Today I Learn… I make a point of learning something new everyday. This is what I learn each day

1, Feb 27, 2012

S is for Self-Esteem: Essential for all the other Secrets

Filed under: Success — admin @ 12:11 am

This is part of the notes taken on 1/14/2008. I know it was four years ago. It was from The Psychology of Achievement — Six keys to Personal Power by Brian Tracy. The author uses the acronym SECRET to summarize the six keys of success.

S for Sense of purpose, having a mission in life, setting clear specific goals.
E for Excellence, a commitment to superior execution in life and in whatever you are engaged in.
C for Contribution, good performance, make your working self more valuable to others.
R for Responsibility, you are the master of your life and fate, dare to take responsibility.
E for Effort, the basic rule of life, sowing and reaping, no pain, no gain; focus and concentrate
T for Time management, using your time, talents and abilities efficiently, getting more things done in the limited time.

A seventh bonus key to success is to realize that high self-esteem is essential for all the other secrets. S is also for self-esteem. How good you feel about yourself depends upon you. It is the basis of your effectiveness in all areas of your life and impacts all the other keys to personal and career success.

1, Feb 3, 2012

Of Fame and Fortune, Which Do You Want?

Filed under: Success — admin @ 12:53 am

I once asked my children, “Of fame and fortune, which do you want?” One said fortune, the other fame. It is interesting to see they came out with different answer, even though with the same parenting. I certainly hope they will eventually get what they want, though I am not sure if they will want the same thing as they grow old.

When a person from the PR department learned of my being selected on the Midwest Voices panel, she immediately noticed related PR section, thinking she would do me a huge service by posting my name and picture on the intranet and on our internal circulation. Upon learning this, I told her I preferred not. She realized she did it without my permission and hurriedly took back her request.

Publicity always means extra attention and different interpretations.  It would be naive to assume all will be of kind intention. At least, I have not cultivated a love for too much attention.

Still, for most people, of two pursuits, fame will outlive fortune.

1, Jan 27, 2012

Adversity: You Can Either Rise Or Sink

Filed under: Success — admin @ 12:53 am

Samantha Garvey, once a homeless high school senior and living in a shelter, captured people’s attention when she became a semi-finalist for Intel Science competition. She was admitted by one of the top schools and was invited to attend State of the Union.

I think of thousands of well-provided kids and their lack of achievements. What matters in the end is not material conditions but the will to achieve.

In face of life’s adversities, one could either rise or sink. She has conquered this adversity and provided “an example of perseverance in the face of adversity.” I hope my children will remember this real-life story.

1, Dec 7, 2011

Fear Effectively Traps People Down

Filed under: Success — admin @ 12:08 am

On 12/4/2011, as with many weekends, my daughter and I were at Barnes & Noble’s again. While she was doing her homework, I was reading Iconoclast: A Neuroscientist Reveals How to Think Differently by Gregory Berns.

At one point, the author mentions “three functions and the circuits” that distinguish iconoclastic brains from others — perception, fear response and social intelligence.

“Iconoclasts, …, have a preternatural affinity for new experiences. Where most people shy away from things that are different, the iconoclast embraces novelty.

“The problem with novelty, however, is that, for most people, novelty triggers the fear system of the brain. Fear is the second major impediment to thinking like an iconoclast and stops the average person dead in his tracks. There are many types of fear, but the two that inhibit iconoclastic thinking are fear of uncertainty and fear of public redicule

“Fear of public speaking, which everyone must do from time to time, afflicts one-third of the population. This is too common to be considered a disorder or mental illness. It is simply a common variant of human nature, but it is one that gets in the way of many potential iconoclasts.”

1, Dec 4, 2011

Israel, Culture, and Success

Filed under: Success — admin @ 12:04 am

I read an article on 11/21/2011 — “How Israel turned itself into a high-tech hub” by Katia Moskvitch. It is one of those efforts that attempt to explain how Israel has become so successful. But it turns out to be no more than a description of how successful Israelis has become without offering any plausible explanation of how.

“Tiny Israel, a country embroiled in conflicts for decades, has managed to transform itself from a stretch of farmland into a high-tech wonder. Israel currently has almost 4,000 active technology start-ups – more than any other country outside the United States, according to Israel Venture Capital Research Centre.

The result: high-tech exports from Israel are valued at about $18.4bn a year, making up more than 45% of Israel’s exports, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics. Israel is a world leader in terms of research and development spending as a percentage of the economy; it’s top in both the number of start-ups and engineers as a proportion of the population; and it’s first in per capita venture capital investment.”

My understanding is this– the key to Israel’s success is Jewish culture, the one that value education, achievement, professionalism, a purpose-driven life, and above all, religion that give them the belief that they are the chosen ones and that they are chosen for a purpose in this world. That purpose is to be the best you can be in the world.

1, Nov 29, 2011

“Creativity is connecting things” — Steve Jobs

Filed under: Success — admin @ 12:04 am

Last Sunday I read The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs by Carmine Gallo, 2011, while waiting for my daughter at Barnes & Noble’s. Here are some of the notes that I took from the book.

“The more diverse our experience and knowledge, the more connections the brain can make. Fresh inputs trigger new associations; for some, these lead to novel ideas.” p. 83.

“…they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was they’ve had more experiences than other people.”

“If you don’t have diverse experiences, you don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.” p. 83

1, Nov 14, 2011

Veteran day, Seeking Glory Without the Flag

Filed under: Success — admin @ 12:47 am


Last Friday, 11/11/2011, was Veteran Day in US. For some reason, I thought of those soldiers who gave their lives for what they believed to be the just cause or the cause of their motherland. They were, according to Jose marti, the glorious ones who had in their hearts the cause of their motherland. On the other hand, Marti believed, the vain ones are those who watch their names.

Throughout my education and socialization process, I was taught it was a shameful thing to seek personal glory. Individualism got a bad rap when we were supposed to strive for the cause of our country.

In spite of those early years of indoctrination, for me, seeking personal glory and rugged individualism still create a stir in my heart and motivate me to go above and beyond.

Be it vain or glorious, I see it a matter of interpretation. By the end of the day, only the life of a seeker is a worthy and glorious one, whatever interpretation one is inclined to give.

1, Nov 1, 2011

Gold Digging and Life’s Major

Filed under: Success — admin @ 12:08 am

On 7/7/2011, I went shopping with my relatives in China. I was looking at gold jewelries and that made me think of life and gold-digging.

Life is a gold mire with very few gold nuggets buried among countless grains of sand. When we spend a large part of our lives chasing the endlesss grains of sand, our eyes get used to the sand and we are more likely to lose sight of the gold. Isn’t that horrible when our minds are locked in trivials and our visions are no farther than our arm’s length?

I keep reminding my children — don’t major in minor. Eye on the big prize.

1, Oct 21, 2011

Early Bird Catches All

Filed under: Success — admin @ 12:03 am

On 8/10/2011, during our daily early morning walk, I mentioned to my daughter the book that she was going to read, Quantum Man: Richard Feynman’s Life in Science by Lawrence M. Krauss, and the fact that Feynman started a radio repair shop when he was a child.

I told my daughter the earlier you started doing something, the better, something that your peers are not doing. You would get more praise when you can tie shoe string at age 3 than at age 13. Similarly, you get more credit when you set up your own company in your teen’s years than during adulthood. Look at the President’s Volunteer Service Award, its requirement on gold level, the old you are, the more hours you have to pour in when you don’t have as much time as you once had.
Kids (Age 5-14): 100 hours or more
Young Adults Age (15-25): 250 hours or more
Adults (Age 26 +): 500 hours or more

That is why I have advised her to set up her own company at age 12, keep it running all through her college years. By the time she emerges out of college at age 22, she has been CEO of her own company for a decade. Whether or not you have customers is an irrelevant question. What matters is the world may have tons of college graduates but very very few 22-year-olds with a decade of work experience, even less as manager and CEO.

For parents, the most tricky part is to get your youngsters listen to you. Good luck!

1, Oct 20, 2011

Dog, Meat and Reflection: Aesop’s Fables for Us All

Filed under: Success — admin @ 12:59 am

On 8/9/2011, during our daily early morning walk before work, I mentioned to my daughter one of Aesop’s fables–“The dog, the meat and the reflection.” We all know that the dog with the meat in his mouth lost his meat when he saw his own reflection in the water and tried to snatch that one.

I asked my daughter about the meaning of this fable. She said, “It teaches people not to be too greedy and how they should be content with what they already have.” Since it is a fable, it is written for children’s comprehension with an obvious message for them.

Yet, for adults, there is more than that. We can interpret meat as the substance of life while reflection as anything insubstantial and insignificant. When we waste our lives on the insubstantial and lose sight of our substance and by the end of the day, when we end up having nothing in our hands, don’t we behave as foolishly as this dog?

1, Oct 10, 2011

Command and Maintain a Moral Height in the Battle to the Top

Filed under: Success — admin @ 12:52 am

When I worked at DMR back in 1998, there was an Indian colleague who religiously go through a day of fasting every week. He was very hungry during one of these days, I told him just to sip something to keep him going. “Nobody cares.”

He told me this fasting was part of his religion. The busier he was and the more demanding his job became, the more he needed his religion, as if he were to maintain his moral height in the battle among mundane world breadearners.

I have no doubt that he will survive or even rise above the vicissitudes of today’s economic turmoils, not solely because of his religion but because the spiritual strength that he thus garners. He reminds me of Ursula Burns.

1, Sep 19, 2011

Advice on Teen Success

Filed under: Success — admin @ 12:07 am

I read an article from Success magazine about teen success offered by SuccessFoundation. Here are key points.

(1) Little things matter. Yes, you can see life as a tall building made of thousands of little brick things.
(2) Attitude is everything.
(3) Everything starts with small steps.
(4) There’s no such thing as failure.
(5) You must use the moment. If you miss this moment, there is no going back.
(6) You are always learning. Keep an open mind and absorb knowledge like sponge taking in water.
(7) You can make your dream come true. Your future is in your hand.
(8) Habits are powerful. It is so powerful that it can control your destiny with its invisible hand.

1, Aug 26, 2011

For My Daughter, Dream, Determination, Plan and Action

Filed under: Success — admin @ 12:06 am

On my daughter’s birthday in March, I shared this observation with her, trying to make her see that dream is only the first step. Other qualities are equally essential in the process.

Dreams are wings of your soul. With dreams you set your goal to the star. Without it you are chained to the ground.

Determination is the fire that energizes us and make a dream come true.

Plan is the road map to your goal; without it you are likely to get lost or feeling overwhelmed and despaired.

Action plan means following your well-laid out plan step by step. With an action plan, you will reach your goal as long as you make steady and persistent efforts, with each step getting you closer and closer.

Focus your time and energies. Get out of your mind anything that block you from achieving your goal.

Never say “I can’t” without giving it a try. Never give up too easily.

1, Aug 21, 2011

Movers and Shakers Make Things Happen

Filed under: Success — admin @ 12:53 am

On 5/3, when I asked HR about an internal position that I had applied, I learned the person who left that position decided not to leave. That just dashed all the hopes that were lingering in my mind. I felt bad about it. HR person said, after the buyout, there would be plenty of opportunities for me. She said I was the “mover and shaker.” Whatever that means I am not sure at that moment, but I know it means good.

I checked the internet later and learned they are “Individual who has a dramatic impact on an organization or a series of events. For example, an individual may be known as a mover and shaker in a particular business activity because of his ability to get things done quickly and successfully.” That’s not me, though I do want to have more control over my own destiny.

I like this definition better, mover and shaker is the “person who makes things happen.” Most people have dreams and ideals, but only the few movers and shakers do something to make their dreams come true. What a lovely thought!

1, Mar 1, 2011

Adults Playing on Library Computers

Filed under: Success — admin @ 12:07 am

For the past few weeks, my daughter has been working on her project with her school competition partner at library. They have made it to the state level and have to work hard so that they could reach to national. While I was at library waiting for her, I noticed many adults were there spending nearly all the time on the computer, either gaming or watching video.

Last Sunday, while my daughter and I were at library again. She directed my attention to an elderly person and said, “He was watching that all the time.” I asked her if she had noticed what many adults were doing on the computer. In fact, she has noticed that most of them were playing or watching video on library’s computers most of the time.

You would expect adults to know better than wasting so much time this way. What role model they are to the young children in the library! I admit that people have different views of life and have their right to whatever life they please to live. Still, I would rather not see my children grow up to be one of them. I placed this post in success category, simply because they stand opposite to success.

1, Nov 14, 2010

Art, Women, and Lack of Success

Filed under: Success — admin @ 12:31 am

On October 3, 2010, a sunny Sunday morning, I drove my daughter to Michael’s, an art and crafts store on Metcalf. While she was at Michael’s, I went to the next door Microcenter, an electronics store. On our way back home, I told my daughter this funny thing.

Most customers at Microcenter are men, yet you seldom see men at Michael’s. From this, you can conclude that more women like art and shop for art supplies than men. However, from what we know of art history and of great art masters, we see an almost male dominance.

I asked my daughter how to explain this. Is it because men are more creative than women or because throughout history women have been deprived of equal opportunity to succeed? Or women at Michael’s are not really art lovers, they were there just for fun and entertainment as if they did not take it seriously?

In fact, not only in art but also nearly in everything, not only in the past but also in modern time, women in general trail behind men in great achievements. For whatever reason or excuse people can come up with, it is still rather depressing to confront this fact that women in general are in great need of the drive, the tenacity, the motivation and the determination to achieve and succeed. It is a harsh judgement, but not far from the truth.

p.s. my daughter commented after reading this post, “Women have different priority in life. In some cases, after they got married, they placed their families before their careers.” This is true. That’s why we often hear of woman homemakers, not that of man.

1, Oct 18, 2010

A Great Life for an Armless Young Man

Filed under: Success — admin @ 12:08 am


When life-changing misfortunate hit you, what will you do next? Do you allow it to break you or rise above? Your character determines your attitude toward it. In the case of Liu Wei, the armless 23-year-old performer, his misfortunate only made him tougher than before.

It is his character, stronger than steel, that wins him the first prize in China’s Got Talent show, held in Shanghai Stadium in August 2010. His life story provides the best material for a moving movie.

Long after I watched his show via youtube, I feel having a lot to say but no word seems enough to express how his accomplishment has touched us, challenged us, and made us think over our lives, our potentials, and what could have been achieved if we were as diligent as this armless young man.

Sometimes, we have this or that excuse for not having reached the level we aim at or we have this or that complaint. At moment like this, let this young man be our model and believe that nothing is as insurmountable as we initially think.

1, Oct 3, 2010

Steadfast and Consistent, you will Win in the End

Filed under: Success — admin @ 12:11 am

On 9/28/2010, my daughter asked me for the pictures of her cousin in China. As I remember he posted some in his blog site, I got hold of its URL and visited the site that evening. For some reason, the young man has not been diligent in posting his blogs.

This somehow reminds me of the tale of tortoise-hare-race. This is what I often tell my children. You don’t have to wait till you are in the mood or you have something worth writing. In wirting and in many other activities, being assiduous and attentive on the daily basis, even if the output is not as great as you would expect, steadfast and consistent, you will see the accumulated effect in the long run. This is especially true in vocabulary building.

I told my daughter while steadfast and consistent will help one reach one’s goal, one will lose the battle with only fitful and sporadic efforts.

1, Sep 24, 2010

An Inspiring Song Performed by Jackie Chan

Filed under: Success — admin @ 1:37 am


My daughter and I have been listening to the singing of this song by Jackie Chan and others. She has found it inspiring. Hence, I post both Chinese and its translation here.

Stand up..my love is as high as a mountain
You can expect something when you start running…
While my future is written at the starting point,
There is no success or fail at the finish line.

Stand up.. my love is as deep as ocean.
Excelling goes beyond this moment…
The excitement of running is still here
Tears are the celebration of victory.

1, Jun 4, 2010

11 Rules and Tough Lessons for Young People

Filed under: Success — admin @ 12:53 am

These rules are worth reading for both high school students and their parents. They will take you somewhere better than you are now if you can heed them.

Rule 1: Life is not fair – get used to it!
Rule 2 : The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something before you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3 : You will not make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won’t be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.
Rule 4 : If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5 : Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.
Rule 6: If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault, so don’t whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent’s generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life has not. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to anything in real life.

Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you find yourself. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10: Television is not real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.
Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.

These rules are said to be delivered by Bill Gates during one of his speeches at a high school.

P.S. 6/19/2010. Today I discovered the following: Truth: Bill Gates spoke before a group of high school students and gave them his eleven rules of life. But these 11 rules are not from Bill Gates. It’s an excerpt from the book Dumbing Down our Kids by educator Charles Sykes. It is a list of eleven things you did not learn in school and directed at high school and college grads.

1, May 16, 2010

Seven Key Factors to School Success Part 1

Filed under: Success — admin @ 1:56 am

In the book Enriching the Brain by Eric Jensen, the author kindly details “the seven golden maximizers” for excellent school performance. I think they make tremendous sense.

1. Physical activity
Exercise helps increase the release of brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF), which supports learning and memory function and the repair and maintenance of neural circuits.

2. Novel, challenging, and meaningful learning
3. Coherent complexity (not chaotic)
4. Managed stress levels (not too boring nor too stressful)
5. Social support (at home, school, and community)
6. Good nutrition (balanced and healthy food)
7. Sufficient time (not rushed, plenty of sleep)

1, Dec 3, 2009

Rich and Famous — Not Without a Purpose

Filed under: Success — admin @ 12:55 am

One can either read and hear news about wealthy celebrities almost everywhere in entertainment or in business world, about their extravagancies, stupidities and the slightest whereabouts, or who-meets-who, etc. Some are nothing but the highest level of stupidity with negative degree of integrity and social value, like Jon and Kate Gosselin, providing sharp contrast when we celebrate over 100 years philanthropy of Andrew Carnegie, a Scottish industrialist, businessman, entrepreneur, and a major philanthropist.

Carnegie’s life was divided into two major phases — (1) making money (2) giving away money. He devoted his last 20 years to philanthropy, the true lasting legacy to the future generation of humanity, without which he would not have been so much adorned and admired world wide. There are plenty of Carnegie quotes, of which the following are my favorites:

“Man does not live by bread alone… It is the mind that makes the body rich. There is no class so pitiably wretched as that which possesses money and nothing else. Money can only be the useful drudge of things immeasurably higher than itself… My aspirations take a higher flight… to have contributed to the enlightenment and the joys of the mind, to the things of the spirit,… I hold this the noblest possible use of wealth.”

“The amassing of wealth is one of the worse species of idolatry. No idol more debasing than the worship of money.”

I want my children to always keep in mind — a person is a selfish nothing, if he/she is no value to the greatest majority of people.

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